How to install VirtualBox Guest Additions Software on Ubuntu Linux

Computer screen with app icons
Computer screen with app icons

The blog post guides on installing VirtualBox Guest Additions software on Ubuntu Linux as a guest machine. The Guest Additions software enhances the guest machine’s performance, enables file sharing and clipboard features between host and guest. The procedure includes updating Ubuntu, installing packages to support VirtualBox, installing Guest Additions CD image, and enabling copying-pasting. Remember to use admin permissions during installation.

This post shows students and new users how to install VirtualBox Guest Additions software on Ubuntu Linux.

Suppose you’re running VirtualBox virtualization software with Ubuntu as a guest machine. In that case, the first thing they’ll want to do after installing the Ubuntu guest operating system (OS) is to install VirtualBox guest addition software.

VirtualBox Guest Addition Software enhances the virtual guest machine and improves the management of the machine. When you install a new operating system on a VirtualBox virtual machine, your first task should be to install the Guest Addition Software.

Operating the guest machine without the guest addition software will perform poorly, and your experience with it will be limited.

The tool provides tight integration between the host and virtual machine operating systems, improvement to the VM graphics performance, shared folder between the host and guest machines, copying and pasting of text, images, and files between the host and guest machine as mouse improvement.

When you’re ready to install VirtualBox guest addition, run the commands below to update Ubuntu.

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt autoremove

When you’re done, run the commands below to install the latest kernel header and dkms package to support VirtualBox.

sudo apt install virtualbox-guest-dkms build-essential linux-headers-virtual

After installing the packages above, restart your machine and continue below.

To install VirtualBox Guest Additions software on Ubuntu virtual machine operating systems, select the Devices from the VirtualBox host application menu and click Insert Guest Additions CD image.

Ubuntu 19.04 VirtualBox

This should mount a virtual CD/DVD drive inside the Ubuntu guest machine. When that happens, you should get a prompt to run the software. Click Run to begin the installation.

You will have to type your password to install the software. If your account is not an administrative account, the installation will fail.

The Guest Additions suite of utilities is the official tool for VirtualBox virtual guest machines.

Restart the guest machine, and you’re set.

To enable copying and pasting between the guest machine and the host, go to the guest machines settings page (General –> Advanced) and enable it as shown below.

VirtualBox machine

That’s it!


This post showed you how to install VirtualBox Guest Additions software on Ubuntu guest machines. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.

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1 Comment

  1. Didn’t work on 20.04 daily build 3/21/20. Snip of /var/log/vboxadd-setup.log:

    ERROR: Kernel configuration is invalid. include/generated/autoconf.h or include/config/auto.conf are missing

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